Summary: Source 3

Summary: Eagleton, Mary, 2020, “Moving Between Politics and Aesthetics in Zadie Smith’s Shorter Forms”.


The many stories of Zadie Smith usually hold more abstract kinds of themes , just like “The Lazy River” and some other short stories which have been paired with longer novels, although most of Smith’s short stories have not gained as much attention from the public. As an approach to these shorter forms and, specifically, to Smith’s interest in politics and aesthetics, the notion of ‘moving between’. In the introductory section, I discuss Smith’s comments on the characteristics of the two forms, namely the association of the short story with feeling and the essay with the intellectual or analytic, and Smith’s repeated claim that she fails in both forms. In each of the following two sections, a short story and an essay are paired. This article also discusses the difference in the essay style compared to short stories. Smith’s point of view is that in the essay she tries to test the argument or try to convince someone of something, while in the short story she just shows the feeling and tries to convey this feeling to the reader by just asking do you feel the same? The context is the period from 2016 to 2018 in the USA and the UK. In the first pairing, the essay, ‘Getting In and Out’ (2017), and the story, ‘Now More Than Ever’ (2018), the focus is the fevered debate around identity politics and political correctness, and a punitive use of social media. Another ‘pairing’ contains novell ‘Fences: A Brexit Diary (2016) and the story, ‘The Lazy River’ which are both centered around the theme or topic of Brexit, as it was a very important event happening at the time. The two texts that were paired with each other held a perception of new possibilities, right with the intellectual freedom creates a specific narration in politics; like how Smith draws the reader’s attention to issues regarding political divisiveness in the way she uses pronouns, figures of speech, and any catchphrases; including how her response may just sit at a difficult way with her political principles. Readers can discover many layers of claims and themes in Smith’s work and although it sounds complicated her style is very simple and straightforward. She is using many metaphors and sarcasm in her stories which are very powerful.

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